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  • Give 'em a nudge
    a little prompt a change of wording a text message to tip the balance in your favour MAKE IT EASY is it really that simple Sharon Wilding is a Chartered Marketer with many years experience in marketing for businesses large and small As a lecturer and a practioner she aims to help small businesses use theory in practical ways to improve performance You can connect with Sharon on Google LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter Tweet track back URL add comment Comments We could do that Andy A joint venture Comment by Sharon 30 Mar 2013 16 01 I ve long felt that a great workshop subject would be based around this nudge concept Limit the numbers to say 10 maximum and an overall workshop time to say 1 5 hours and nominal cost e g 30 head Then put each persons website up on the screen and invite comments from all the other people both positive and opportunities Get each information beneficiary to commit to the group that they will make certain changes within a certain time and that s it There would be very few people who could honestly walk out of such a workshop and say they got nothing out of it Throw in a bit of follow up communication to ensure people have done what they should have done and there s something of value commitment After all if 9 other people are saying things about your website then how about all the hundreds of others who go to the website but don t make contact Comment by Andy Harris 29 Mar 2013 09 13 And even if it doesn t at least you have your integrity intact and can rest easy in your bed I spotted my favourite quote on Facebook yesterday and thought of you If you want to be happy for a short time get drunk happy for a long time fall in love happy for ever take up gardening Chinese Proverb Hope lots of people get distressed at the sight of their gardens this weekend and you are inundated with new gardening clients to rescue Comment by Sharon 28 Mar 2013 08 17 Excellent blog and good early morning reading I especially agree with giving the 110 This in my experience always pays off with more work Comment by Andrew Fenney 28 Mar 2013 07 01 Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 7749 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that

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  • Know your customer. Yeah right!
    over reacted and I should have cut her some slack but I did enjoy writing the snotty email back Anyway what these three things tell me is that although as marketers we stress the importance of understanding our customers and our target markets we really need to exercise great care with how we use our understanding People are complex multi dimensional creatures They are contextual contrary and they confound us It s great to collect data and use it to drive marketing decisions but use it with care If you know from their behaviour that they may be interested in X then I would encourage you to talk to them about X but don t assume that this means that they can t be interested in Y Never make assumptions about people never discount them never presume to know them and always check your data it might result in a lost opportunity or worse a really snotty email Jim Hunt is a professional marketer with many years experience in building businesses large and small As a speaker trainer and practitioner he aims to explain marketing theory clearly and show how it can be applied in practice to deliver better results from your marketing investment You can connect with Jim on LinkedIn Facebook Twitter and Google Tweet track back URL add comment Comments It s nearly the end of the month but that s the funniest thing I ve seen I have never bought women s clothes from Eddie Bauer I buy all my dresses from Evans because I can picture it Jim Backing up what you re saying here something that we re finding fascinating at A1WebStats is that assuming based on data can be a problem A recent example was a company that we saw visited our site and they looked at pages that implied they were interested in the higher level service but they hadn t touched the normal service page We contacted the company and got through to the person who had been to our website and we could so easily have taken the conversation down a particular path However we d learnt from experience to ask certain questions and not assume based on the data It turned out that the person had been referred to us from an existing subscriber and they d done their research at home the previous night so didn t show up as a repeat visitor which was when they looked at our normal level service but didnt have the time to dig deeper at the time That s a long way round of saying that data alone however clever it appears to be needs to be treated with a pinch of salt and anyone using data analytics etc needs to be very savvy in the way they communicate with prospects Comment by Andy Harris 29 Mar 2013 09 43 Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 1259

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  • Ten tips for selecting a Trademark
    for overall look and likelihood of confusion Build your brand just giving something a name is only the start of the process to develop its maximum value so make sure you give the baby a good launch and continue to invest in nurturing it through the years in how you use the mark and develop the brand with a carefully structured long term marketing plan Then having chosen your trademark or name then you might want to ensure other people can t use it too Find out more about why registering your Intellectual Property might be important here Patricia Barclay of Bonaccord Patricia Barclay studied law at Edinburgh and Oxford Universities After a number of years with Pfizer in the UK and US she became General Counsel of Vernalis plc a post that she subsequently held at the privately owned multi national Ferring Group and at Solvay Pharmaceuticals As such she has been involved in decision making at the highest level in very different organisations Find out more here Tweet track back URL add comment Comments An open vowel is one that you have to open your mouth to say as in Ah or Ow There is no legal rule about this and going against this suggestion will not make your mark less registrable it is just that it makes the word less likely to be misheard and marketing types who do lots of focus groups tell me that they find these sorts of marks especially the ones with lots of a s tend to be more popular That said my own mark BONACCORD does not totally follow this idea but for other reasons works very well for me If you are selling internationally we also tend to recommend avoiding letters like J H G and TH which may be pronounced differently in different languages or that some nationalities might find difficult to say this all goes to weaken the brand appeal although of course there are always exceptions and GOOGLE have not done too badly Comment by Patricia Barclay 6 Mar 2013 11 45 What is an open vowel Do you have examples of marks which didn t work because they broke this rule Comment by Andrew Jones 6 Mar 2013 10 09 Very good article and well timed I m just about to di this do its useful with things I didn t realise I should do Thanks Comment by Cheryl Turtlemoon 6 Mar 2013 07 17 Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 6646 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/detail.rhtm/686716/ten_tips_for_selecting_a_trademark.rhtm (2016-02-14)
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  • What makes you different?
    service can make the admin side of your business work much more smoothly Don t waste your opportunities The bottom line is that if you are concentrating on getting opportunities through your promotions be that referrals or advertising you don t want to screw them up by being unable to turn them into profitable business What s your biggest bug bear on customer experience Or do you have some great tips for providing excellent customer experience I d like to collect examples to feature in future blogs if you d be happy to share Sharon Wilding is a Chartered Marketer with many years experience in marketing for businesses large and small As a lecturer and a practioner she aims to help small businesses use theory in practical ways to improve performance You can connect with Sharon on Google LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter Tweet track back URL add comment Comments Really helpful article and a good checklist to get us all thinking about the journey a customer makes with us and remind us to stay on the ball Of course if one customer is happy they become an ambassador so it s really important albeit difficult at times to keep up the standards they ve been told about Thanks for the reminders Sharon Jan Comment by Jan Prior 23 Feb 2013 18 24 What time do you get up in the morning Excellent article Comment by Andrew Fenney 22 Feb 2013 09 48 Brilliant article and really useful too Its made me think of things differently and what i can do to make my clients happy Comment by Cheryl turtlemoon 22 Feb 2013 07 22 Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 1824 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that having spent so long trying to show clients how much more there is to marketing than Jul 2015 Christmas is coming 27 Jul 2015 20 40 It s July The weather might lead you to conclude differently but it s the middle of the British Do you have a personal brand 10 Jul 2015 16 25 Jim s post of a couple of weeks back about getting on and doing stuff brought to mind a discussion Exhibition Time 3 Jul 2015 21 33 Next Tuesday 7th July the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Kent B2B June 2015 You know what you need to do 25 June 2015 22 58 I was with a coaching

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  • Setting a marketing budget
    100 for new launches And major one off expenditures such as new websites can often be treated as exceptional additions My preference is to start with a target increase in revenue and identify the total you would be prepared to spend to win this business if you have recurring income then make an assumption about the average lifetime revenue from those customers You are essentially answering the question what is an acceptable investment in marketing cost of acquisition for this business Then putting the budget to one side you can decide the best plan of action to target and acquire those customers And you can make assumptions on the marketing cost If your total cost required is less than you are prepared to spend then bingo you can get your plan underway If it is more then back to the drawing board You may be able to come up with less expensive options or you may need to adjust your expectations on results Either way you are still not committed to the spend but you are better informed and in a much better position to manage your marketing effectively You are in control Why not have a go now Tweet track back URL add comment Comments No comments so far why not be the first Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 3189 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that having spent so long trying to show clients how much more there is to marketing than Jul 2015 Christmas is coming 27 Jul 2015 20 40 It s July The weather might lead you to conclude differently but it s the middle of the British Do you have a personal brand 10 Jul 2015 16 25 Jim s post of a couple of weeks back about getting on and doing stuff brought to mind a discussion Exhibition Time 3 Jul 2015 21 33 Next Tuesday 7th July the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Kent B2B June 2015 You know what you need to do 25 June 2015 22 58 I was with a coaching client this week and in the middle of the session she said something that I The 1 sin in content marketing mea culpa 15 June 2015 21 27 I m just home from a day s training in the latest in digital marketing strategy and I m racked Mar 2015 One to One Personalised Marketing should be the norm

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/detail.rhtm/683383/setting_a_marketing_budget.rhtm (2016-02-14)
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  • Off the Edge
    discounts are a dangerous drug The reason these titles attract is basic marketing they focus on the benefit to be gained from reading knowledge improved results beer They don t focus on functionality it s a newsletter Use html emails not attachments ditch the PDFs You mostly have but some people seem to cling on to them An html newsletter is smaller so won t bust mailbox limits and without an attachment is less likely to be trapped by SPAM filters Using PDFs for a newsletter also puts another hurdle in front of the reader They have to take action to open the file in order to see if there s anything worth reading In large numbers they just don t bother Good mailing systems will also give you some valuable analytics information on delivery rates open rates though these are not a great measure clicked links etc which can help you improve your newsletter over time PDFs do have a place for some highly technical information or very long documents or where they are intended to be printed out And they ll help you manage your mailing lists at the same time Use great headlines in the copy grab the reader and suck him in The headlines don t have to be incredibly clever and creative but they have to make the reader want to read the story Again think like the reader Why would I want to read the piece what s in it for me Think benefits Include pictures I m not going to say a picture paints a thousand word because that would be too hackneyed Doh Images do though lift a piece of writing They break it up make it more accessible and can support the point being made All good things But don t rely on them because there are always those readers who turn the images off Direct the eye use highlights sub headings bullet points to draw the readers attention to important things help the reader skim to the things that he s really interested in Include back links get the reader back to your website by linking from the newsletter to more detailed or related content or offers on your website Make it just right not too long not too short No one has time to read a ten page newsletter but if it s short enough to be a simple email then best to just send a simple email Make it relevant segment your market and send relevant information to different groups Make sure you put people in the right groups though I suspect that a clothing company who send me an email regularly think I m a woman I get lots of emails about women s clothes and only the occasional one about men s And before anyone asks no I don t have anything to reveal I don t want you to call me Judy and I don t wear my wife s clothes They don t fit Send it frequently and regularly think of any newspaper or magazine They have a set schedule They don t just decide not to produce a Cosmopolitan this month Remember it s about engagement and building a relationship When your newsletter arrives in their inbox you want the reader to think Ah ha Fred s newsletter nice title Not Who the is Fred What do you think Which are your favorite newsletters and why read comment add comment Is choice a good thing Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 29 Nov 2012 When I hear politicians talking about choice I confess that my heart sinks Even before I heard about Barry Schwartz and his book The Paradox of Choice I knew that I didn t really appreciate the responsibility or work involved with choosing schools hospitals or even police commissioners Particularly when after all that effort it seemed that my view didn t really count anyway my option came down to one When it comes to local services what I want and I think a lot of you will agree with me is the certainty that the one choice available to me is a good one relieving us of the pressure of looking any further The Paradox of Choice is not a new book it came out in 2004 but I only recently came across some related lectures on YouTube And although not universally accepted to me what I heard rang so true Apart from the personal afinity I felt to what I was hearing I think that as marketers it would do us good to take heed of the main message when we are creating and presenting offers for customers namely BEWARE OFFERING TOO MUCH CHOICE As Barry Schwartz illustrates with many entertaining examples more definitely is less As the product ranges and features available in almost every area of life have become greater many of us become over anxious increasingly dissatisfied and occasionally completely paralysed and unable to make a choice at all Is that the sort of state you want your customers to end up in Essentially unless you are very clear about what you want or are the sort of person that Barry describers as a satisficer the opposite being a maximiser or perfectionist then being offered a lot of choice is likely to mean you are put off or avoid making any choice at all That could be your business that loses out on that sales opportunity as the customer walks away bewildered and befuddled The more options we are offered raises our expectations to the point where the only possibility is that we will be disappointed whatever we choose Not only that but we end up miserable because we blame ourselves for making the wrong choice What a terrible position to be in having made a purchase that makes us unhappy One simple illustration is the story of the market stalls selling jams One stall had just 5 6 different options the other had a vast range The one with most jams on offer attracted more visitors but at the end of the day the one with the least number of options made the most sales Your job as a marketer is to make your customer s choices easy ones That means Not offering so many options that the customer is too paralysed to choose Focusing on the benefits and features that are right for that specific customer rather than the full list and the kitchen sink Setting out options clearly and simply Make customer satisfaction a number one priority listen and learn make your default offering an excellent one Because life is complicated enough already Sometimes we are not the best judge of whether we have succeeded in offering clear and simple and limited choices to customers It really helps to get feedback whether from customers associates or friends Stand back and take a look at the choices you are offering your customers are you raising their stress levels or boosting their happiness Sharon Wilding is a Chartered Marketer with many years experience in marketing for businesses large and small As a lecturer and a practioner she aims to help small businesses use theory in practical ways to improve performance You can connect with Sharon on Google LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter read comment add comment Marketing Planning How do you know when you ve arrived Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 22 Nov 2012 Riches beyond the dreams of avarice Gold plated toilet seats Jim couldn t resist diving off into a fantasy world when I discussed the subject of this week s blog with him On the other hand this fantasy may be your goal and may reflect your objectives In which case it is having the riches and the bling toilet seat that will tell you that you have arrived We ve reached the 5th and final step in the marketing planning series phew If you ve missed any of the other blogs on this subject you can find them all listed on the One page Marketing Plan page to read and follow at your own pace Where were you going If you ve got this far then you ll hopefully have answered the question at step 2 where are you going And from this will have set out the goals and objectives that you measure yourself against at each stage of your plan Because it s no good just waiting until the end of the period to check you re where you wanted to be If you ve wandered off course in the meantime you could be lost in the business dessert wondering if you ll ever make it back Test Measure Adjust This step is all about measurement and control as you implement the plan ensuring that you are hitting the right milestones along the way to your overall objective A plan is never really finished The activities you ve identified will give you a trajectory taking you towards your goal but if you are not getting the right outcomes then you must STOP and review maybe re plan Disappointing though it is there are no certain sure fire winners in marketing Mostly it s about long term consistently plugging away Despite what you might have heard Companies who run big money campaigns don t go straight out spending millions they take small steps testing using a sample of data and adjusting their approach before rollout In a small business this may be harder to work in a statistically significant fashion but the advantage you have is that it is easier for you to make changes in strategy and direction It s not just about promotion Remember your marketing plan is not all about promotion If your results are not what you hoped you must consider adjustments you could make across the full marketing mix product price place as well as promotion You might have chosen the right channel but be making the wrong offer or even to the wrong people If you don t know where you re going any road will take you there Your plan is all about giving you more control over your destiny Making your choices more deliberate not allowing yourself to be kicked about in the wind If you want control it s time you took it now Sharon Wilding is a Chartered Marketer with many years experience in marketing for businesses large and small As a lecturer and a practioner she aims to help small businesses use theory in practical ways to improve performance You can connect with Sharon on Google LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter add comment Marketing is an investment Filed under Marketing by Jim Hunt on 8 Nov 2012 I want to tell you a tale of two companies They are fictional companies but they may have similarities to businesses we have come across this year In fact they have similarities to lots of businesses we come across and I m sure you will recognise these traits too Business A is a start up It is the brainchild of the founder and is based around services which make use of his skills To start the business the founder who is highly qualified in his field had to find premises which he did at a good rate furnish and decorate the premises install equipment which he leased employ staff All of this took some time and quite a bit of cash With a couple of weeks to go to the planned launch date the founder started to think about getting customers This is when he called us The conversation went something like this Entrepreneur yes I ve spent a lot of money getting this business set up so it really needs to be successful I need to get some customers quickly What can you do to help The Purple Edge We can certainly help with that What have you earmarked for your marketing budget Entrepreneur laughing Ha ha ha ha There s no budget Everything has been so expensive I really need to spend as little as possible Business B is a 10 year old company which is successful in its field It employs over 20 people and turns over eight figures The founder is a true entrepreneur She sees the big picture spots opportunities and goes after them She has a strong vision and knows where she wants to take the company It s not all rosy though The company is feeling growing pains as the systems and processes struggle to keep up with the volume and increasing variety of work The staff are finding that they are having to develop new skills and adapt to more formal roles The founder wants to grow her business by 50 in 2 years She has identified some of the developments which will contribute to this growth but has recognised that she needs to build his client base This is when she called us The conversation went something like this Entrepreneur I ve been thinking about getting some help with our marketing for a while We ve tried lots of things some have worked some haven t Even the things that have worked I think could have worked better I see what other companies do and I want to emulate some of them but we just don t know how to do it well I know that to hit my target I ve got to invest some money What I need help with is investing the right amount in the right things The Purple Edge I love you OK it didn t go quite like that but you get the picture The difference in philosophy between the two businesses can only be partly explained by their different positions in their life cycle Yes Business B has lots of customers and income that it can use to fund its marketing efforts and Business A is in start up mode when cash is always tight I believe that the fundamental difference though is that Business A sees spend on marketing as a cost while Business B sees it as an investment Business A has premises equipment staff It has invested in these It knows without them is has no business The key other thing it needs to really have a business is CUSTOMERS Without them it doesn t have a business either It doesn t see money spent in capturing customers as an investment though I think this is weird If a start up didn t have the money to buy essential equipment it either wouldn t launch or it would try to find the money from the bank or an investor perhaps Nothing is more essential to a business than customers but people don t think they have to invest in attracting them The old build it and they will come philosophy is alive and kicking Well you know what They won t So why do some businesses see marketing as a cost and not an investment I suspect there are two main reasons Firstly because their experience tells them that they can t equate marketing activity and hence cost to revenue The ROI is difficult and sometimes impossible to demonstrate clearly it s true Even with the best promotional campaigns it can be difficult to explicitly link spend to revenue Secondly I think they see it as a cost because they have spent money on marketing that didn t work marketing that was ill thought out sporadic poorly targeted and poorly conceived In short they ve done it themselves In the words of Peter Druker Because it s purpose is to create a customer your business has two purposes and two purposes only Marketing and Innovation That s a great quote The purpose of the business is to create a customer Think about it You re not in business to make things to provide a service employ people You are in business to make money Making money requires customers Without customers you don t have a business you have a hobby The activity that gets you customers is marketing So be honest Do you invest in your marketing read comment add comment You don t need a website Filed under Marketing by Jim Hunt on 28 Oct 2012 Nurse Nurse I can hear you cry Mr Hunt s out of bed again But no really it s completely true You don t need a website Well you certainly don t if they re anything like some of the websites we ve seen lately Websites that aren t optimised aren t updated aren t well written aren t clear aren t effective don t facilitate interaction with potential customers don t generate leads don t nurture prospects don t convert clicks to customers There are something approaching 700 million domains on the internet and something like 200 million active websites That s a lot of web property Google serves 3 5 billion searches a day that s nearly 42 thousand searches a second Each page of results on Google shows something between 10 and 20 results and that s 0 00001 of all the possible websites in the world at best Oh and 95 of click on search engine results go to the results on page 1 So what am I getting at The point is that getting found by people searching for your services does not happen by accident Your website pages and the content on them HAS to be optimised It just has to be It is a basic requirement of a website So why do we keep coming across sites that aren t Why are there website developers who build websites that aren t optimised The copy on the website the words that people will read are critical not only to the optimisation of the site but also to the ability of the site to engage and convince potential customers It seems that often the web developer relies on the

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/index.rhtm?cat=marketing&first=50 (2016-02-14)
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  • Off the Edge
    on the keypad later I found that the cancellation department wasn t open in the evening So I had to put it off still further No worries lunchtime the next day I tried again Well the ensuing conversation was highly amusing to the family but not to me A normally polite and articulate person I was soon shouting no no no no to an irritating operator who came up with increasing crazy options to avoid me cancelling and to enable us to keep the number In fact I told him he was crazy several times too 30 minutes later I had successfully changed to a pay as you go contract so that I can phone again in 30 days time to change the number Why do we put up with it Well choice of network is down to my son as he has to pay the bill and Three offer an impossible to resist deal of all you can eat data Essential to a teenager today So while it would be a lie to say excellent customer customer service is always essential what is really happening is we are trading off our expectation of service for the better deal In doing so Three are attracting the most price sensitive and potentially demanding and awkward customers Ryanair work on a similar model The deal they offer is very low price but don t you dare presume to complain they re not interested Some customers will opt out others will grin and bear it and some will fight them all the way Excellent customer service may not be essential to success if you are Three or Ryanair but building a successful business competing on price alone is nigh on impossible for a small business To compete on price you need to be the lowest cost provider and as a small business you just don t have the economies of scale That means you need to offer a level of service that will attract the calibre of customer who appreciates what you are offering and is prepared to pay a fair price for the value you deliver Offer a lower grade of service and you will get the customers you deserve Sharon Wilding is a Chartered Marketer with many years experience in marketing for businesses large and small As a lecturer and a practioner she aims to help small businesses use theory in practical ways to improve performance You can connect with Sharon on Google LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter add comment The Purple Edge Introduction to CRM Part 1 Filed under Marketing by Jim Hunt on 8 Apr 2013 We ve been working with one of our clients to implement a CRM system The potential of this step is transformational for the business concerned I m confident that the benefits they will see in quite a short time will be truly amazing They will be a more organised streamlined responsive and professional looking business and I believe they will see significant ROI on the relatively modest investment The impact of what we re doing will be so great that I thought we should share some of the learning with our blog readers There s a fair amount to say so this will be a short series of blog articles if I get time I ll pull it together into a white paper that you can download If what I ve said so far sounds like hyperbole and marketing spin I urge you to stick with me and read the series If you still think so then I haven t explained it well enough I d like to make some important points right up front I m not a CRM expert I don t sell CRM systems although on the basis of my recent experience perhaps I might I am not au fait with all the systems on the market I m a marketer who has experience of implementing and using CRM systems so I have an understanding of how they can help small businesses Ok lets start at the beginning What is CRM I did a web search on this term and found literally thousands of articles The problem with them is that they either talk in detail about IT systems or they talk at the 30 000 feet airy fairy motherhood and apple pie level Here s my take Customer Relationship Management CRM is about trying to maintain and grow professional effective and insightful relationships with prospects and clients as a business develops Many of the learned articles about CRM give the example of the corner shop where the proprietor knows all the customers their buying habits credit worthiness propensity to buy more etc etc The proprietor can have a personal relationship with most if not all his customers He knows the good ones from the bad ones and he can treat them personally As the business expands and he opens more and bigger stores this kind of intimacy with his customer becomes harder and harder to maintain CRM is about helping the business maintain that intimate relationship with the increasing customer base as the business expands so that the business continues to know who its best customers are which customers might be interested in new products which might be attracted by which promotions etc A CRM sytstem is a software tool that helps the business maintain good and effective customer relationships as it grows This description is OK as far as it goes but it fails to highlight some of the important functions of a CRM system that I have observed create significant benefit in practice The functions are more around the internal operation of the business Most smaller businesses that I have come across have grown from one or two man bands These businesses have lacked formal systems in the broadest sense and as they grow they continue in the same vein They hold customer and prospect details as Outlook contacts or in spreadsheets They buy solutions to specific problems e g accounting that aren t easy to interrogate and derive useful information from Spreadsheets proliferate like viruses each holding different types of data analysed for different purposes Yellow sticky notes litter the offices like confetti There is no real clarity about where leads prospects and customers come from Inbound calls are not handled uniformly data such as names phone numbers email addresses etc aren t checked or captured There is not a clear understanding across the team about the status of individual pieces of work so if the person dealing with it isn t around no one else can help Production of quotes proposals etc is a highly manual process Things fall down the cracks because everyone has too much to do and everything takes longer to do than it should Does any of this sound familiar Forget the touchy feely stuff about maintaining and building customer relationships for a minute just think about the operational benefits of having a single organised way of Storing customer and prospect data Recording and maintaining customer actions so that everyone could see the latest status Recording details of all important contacts with customers and prospects Seeing who has and who hasn t followed up on that call or that meeting Seeing how many proposals quotes you have out how much they re worth and what stage in the sales cycle they are Seeing which marketing activity generated new leads and which didn t The list goes on To finish this first blog on CRM here are a couple of examples from real life discussions we ve had recently that show the kind of issue businesses have everyday that a CRM could help address Company A has a head office and a number of sales people out on the road They target a very specific sector in which there are a large but finite number of prospects They have no standard way of recording prospects and no information available to the sales team about whether a particular prospect has been contacted before by whom and what the outcome was If a salesman is thinking of targeting a new prospect he first must phone email round all the other sales people to check whether there has been any contact before Company B offers a one year warranty on some of its products 11 months after a sale it wants to mail out an offer on extended warranties to a subset of its customers Production of a mailing list requires reconciliation of data in two different systems and the intelligence of one of the operational managers and about two weeks of elapsed time Company C receives an order from an existing customer which is processed and goods dispatched A conversation between two members of staff reveal that the customer has still not paid for a previous order and was supposed to be on the STOP list Company D spends 5000 year on advertising in magazines but doesn t know how much business it generates as a result If any of these scenarios sound familiar or you can think of others in the same vein look out for the next installment of The Purple Edge Guide to CRM Jim Hunt is a professional marketer with many years experience in building businesses large and small As a speaker trainer and practitioner he aims to explain marketing theory clearly and show how it can be applied in practice to deliver better results from your marketing investment You can connect with Jim on LinkedIn Facebook Twitter and Google read comment add comment Give em a nudge Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 27 Mar 2013 Have you heard of nudge theory It s based on the idea the we are mostly lazy are easily embarrassed and like to fit in Sound fair The Government has been using these techniques to change our behaviours for the better in such areas as paying our taxes turning up for appointments and making healthier choices Have you felt the nudge And can you take any lessons from this approach into your own business Apparently the 2008 book Nudge Improving Decisions About Health Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein is now required reading for the coalition front bench Perhaps we should all follow suit If you start with the assumption that your customers are lazy what can you do to make it easier for them to buy from you One example you can follow is the Ronseal it does what it says on the tin technique I ve spoken to a number of companies recently that make it very hard for anyone to understand what they actually do They hide behind a clever Latin name or a smart slogan that just leaves people baffled Why should we work that hard to find out what you do or to follow your message So how does it work When the DVLA started sending out letters with the clear statement Pay your tax or lose your car the number of people paying up doubled and tripled when a photo of their car was added making it more personal Take up of incentives for loft insulation increased when policymakers realised that what was stopping people was they were too lazy to clear their lofts The answer Provide a charged for loft clearing service Uptake increased three times A police force persuaded car owners to put their cars in their garages and reduce car thefts by providing skips for people to dump the rubbish out of their garages into free of charge It s not just that we like our lives made easier we also like to fit in with social norms Hence it is more effective to tell people how many others have already kept their appointments or are choosing a healthier option than it is to take a negative approach and focus on how many appointments have been missed or bad choices made All that does is tell us it s OK to do bad because you re not alone What s stopping your customers doing more business with you We are all too close to our own businesses to really answer this question honestly ourselves But you could ask your customers directly or get an independent objective view Starting with the premise that you are offering a great product or service that really solves a problem for your target customers then what else could you do to make yourself easier to do business with Can you be more clear and direct about what you do remove a barrier by doing a bit more of the job that the customer doesn t want to do give some extra service or take something away rather than leave them to do it themselves provide evidence that customers are making the right choice going for you 8 out of 10 cat owners Improve your conversion When you ve worked hard to generate interest in your offering it makes sense to ensure you work just as hard at converting that interest into a sale and repeat sales too The lesson from nudge theory is that it might only take a little prompt a change of wording a text message to tip the balance in your favour MAKE IT EASY is it really that simple Sharon Wilding is a Chartered Marketer with many years experience in marketing for businesses large and small As a lecturer and a practioner she aims to help small businesses use theory in practical ways to improve performance You can connect with Sharon on Google LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter read comment add comment Know your customer Yeah right Filed under Marketing by Jim Hunt on 22 Mar 2013 As often happens to me things in my life came together this week causing me to think even more deeply about how we market and how we use the tools and information available to us to try to market more effectively I was on LinkedIn today I wasn t cyberloafing right this was background research when I came across an interesting article that described a conversation between three marketers Two were advocates of Big Data The other was a John Hegarty a founder of ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty Big Data marketing is a term used to describe the use of large amounts of data captured about individual consumers based on their buying behaviour to microsegment in order to target very specific messages to individuals Hegarty amusingly derided the Big Data approach One of the data heads had been talking about the power of being able to know who a person is and so send them very personalised content Hegarty reposted To those brands that say I understand you I say F off you don t understand me Mind your own business I don t want to be understood by you I don t understand myself sometimes and it can be fun Later I got an email from Eddie Bauer an American clothing chain which I used regularly when I was in the States and still do occasionally these days even though I rarely leave Kent The interesting thing about the email was that it was promoting their new range of women s jeans This is not the first email they ve sent me promoting women s clothes In fact I get them regularly I also get emails promoting their regular sales which I d describe as unisex I never get emails specifically about men s clothes I have never bought women s clothes from Eddie Bauer I buy all my dresses from Evans so there s no reason for them to target me based on my buying behaviour So something has gone screwy somewhere in the database I suggest They clearly don t know me as well as they think they do Thirdly I had an exciting email exchange with a Spanish estate agent from Wales it s probably a long story but I ve been disinclined to ask We have a client who is another Spanish estate agent from Sheffield this time and about a week ago I was doing some research I searched for property for sale in an area I know quite well it s where my two sisters live in Andalucia I found a villa just up the road from big sis which looked like a steal so out of curiosity and to support my research you understand I filled out a web form to request details of the property Within the hour Welsh woman was on the phone I gave her my cover story of being interested in property in Spain to rent out to holiday makers and she promised to send me some information Sure enough she did Lot s of it It only occurred to me yesterday that she hadn t sent the information on the villa that I d requested via the web form so I dropped her a quick note as a reminder Her response shocked me She said that the villa needed work on it and it wasn t as good a rental prospect as others she had so she decided not to send the details I have to say Sharon didn t think this was as big an issue as I did but I couldn t believe that she presumed to know better than I whether I wanted to see the details I might have had completely different reasons for wanting them as in fact I did She couldn t see that on the basis of a 5 minute conversation she did not know me she didn t know all my interests and she was no judge of what I d want OK in retrospect maybe I over reacted and I should have cut her some slack but I did enjoy writing the snotty email back Anyway what these three things tell me is that although as marketers we stress the importance of understanding our customers and our target markets we really need to

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  • Do Something New for the New Year
    do So what are you going to do new or different in your marketing in 2013 Even those of us who run marketing companies have things that we d like to do better or differently in our marketing Over the past few years we ve created some good marketing habits like regular blogging and keeping our website up to date creating the conditions to grow the business This year using the pointers above our resolution is going to be to make increasing use of experts to offer an even better service to customers and allow us to grow still further Forming close relationships with trusted partners will be the key and that will take commitment and regular contact to build and maintain those relationships it s a resolution but it s also part of our marketing plan Would you like to share your resolution too Tweet track back URL add comment Comments No comments so far why not be the first Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 8198 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that having spent so long trying to show clients how much more there is to marketing than Jul 2015 Christmas is coming 27 Jul 2015 20 40 It s July The weather might lead you to conclude differently but it s the middle of the British Do you have a personal brand 10 Jul 2015 16 25 Jim s post of a couple of weeks back about getting on and doing stuff brought to mind a discussion Exhibition Time 3 Jul 2015 21 33 Next Tuesday 7th July the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Kent B2B June 2015 You know what you need to do 25 June 2015 22 58 I was with a coaching client this week and in the middle of the session she said something that I The 1 sin in content marketing mea culpa 15 June 2015 21 27 I m just home from a day s training in the latest in digital marketing strategy and I m racked Mar 2015 One to One Personalised Marketing should be the norm for all businesses So why aren t more companies stepping up 20 Mar 2015 19 06 Personalised marketing campaigns driven by online data collection are fast becoming a key Feb 2015 The businesses who missed the point 18 Feb 2015 15 31 Your business start up How to avoid no one turning up to

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